22 December 2008

Christmas Cookies!

Christmas Cookies!
Originally uploaded by hickswright.

I didn't take any pics of this year's Christmas Cookie-Baking Festivities, but as it was one of my finest showings I'm very grateful that Tyler did! At one point I had not one but TWO KitchenAid stand mixers whirring away. Good times. If you haven't yet made the Chocolate Toffee Cookies over at Smitten Kitchen, hie thee to the kitchen! And save a couple for me, because they sure didn't last long around these parts.

03 December 2008


A couple of weeks ago I finally made good on my promise to pay it forward: Brianna, Kajal, and Tyler were all recipients of Chocolate Chip Cookies 2 Ways: The heavily-blogged NYTimes recipe (which I have to admit, totally lived up to the hype), and Martha Stewart's Thin & Crisp variety (very different from the NYT recipe, and also very delicious).

Tyler Griffin PhotographyTyler's now playing over on his blog, and there's still one comment up for grabs. I suggested he gift a pack of postcards showcasing his amazing photography, and he's also an excellent baker. So if you're a blogger, you might want to head on over to leave a comment for Tyler!

02 November 2008

Chicken Squash Action

As is oft the case, last night I was ambitious. We wanted to go to First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum (British rock! Fun!) and in honour of the NYC Marathon this morning, I had supportive signs to make (Go Tiernan! Go Dawn! Go Jim! Go Robert! Go Paula!*) and plans to make a batch of Sticky Cinnamon Rolls to share with my fellow cheerleaders.

Two out of three ain't bad: We danced to Blur and Elastica and I managed to eke out a couple of Bristol board signs, but the cinnamon rolls remained at their first rise overnight. I completed them later this afternoon with great success. Really I should be blogging about those, but I also made a delicious meal tonight that involves all things Thanksgiving, things which happened to be in our fridge even though there are 3 weeks until the culinary event of the year. And despite previously detailing how to create a Bunny Cake, I've never posted my very own recipe. And so, without further ado, I give you:

Chicken Squash Action (named by Ken)
Makes 4 servings

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 c celery, diced
1 T fresh sage, minced
1/2 c red wine (I used Vampire Pinot Noir)

3 c butternut squash, in 1/2 inch dice
1 c chicken broth

1 c cooked wild rice
6 oz cooked boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced

In a large pan with a lid, sautée the onion, garlic, mushrooms, celery, and half the sage over medium heat until onion is caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining sage.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine (this part smells delicious). Add the squash and the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until squash is fork-tender (this will depend on the accuracy of your dice), about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice and the chicken breast and simmer a few minutes more, until chicken is heated through. Salt & pepper to taste.

Serve with wine and, optionally, a purring cat nearby. A few toasted sliced pecans would also be a delicious addition, or a few dried cranberries (in fact, I think I'll go add a few of those to the leftovers right now). Bon appetit!

*We met Paula on the subway on Friday night. I didn't see her running today but I'm sure she did very well!

23 August 2008

Size Does Matter

About a month ago I was at Anthropologie browsing their delightful bits (holla Ali!) when I came across these little glasses that cost all of $3 or $4 each. I think they were meant to be juice glasses, but they looked like the perfect size to hold a tiny summer parfait. It worked out just fine, don't you think?

(I haven't been quite as ambitious as the lovely and talented Miss Amy, who's making her own frozen treats this year, but this store-bought variety is really delicious.)

07 August 2008


Check it out, yo! My apricots picture (below, top right) was featured on Slashfood on Monday!

They were delicious, by the way - I'm going to make them again tonight.

03 August 2008

Grillin' Like A Villian

1. Perfection, 2. Sunny Side Up, 3. Drizzled, 4. Bean & Tomato Salad

I'm not sure what the best part of having a backyard is, but having a grill is up there. Tonight for dinner I 'cued up a turkey burger and corn on the cob, and then tried my hand at grilling apricots for dessert. Delish. The sides are a bean & tomato salad (both of which I picked up at the farmers' market yesterday) and spicy mixed greens from a pot in the backyard. The basil in the salad is also homegrown. I love summer.

30 June 2008

Back to California

Strawberry Shortcake
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Last weekend I made the first of 2008's pilgrimages to California. We arrived at SFO to unusually warm weather, and after a stop for the most delicious burrito in the world, or at least North America we drove down Hwy 1 through Pacifica to Half Moon Bay. We stopped on Hwy 92 to buy strawberries, which were advertised at $6/box. We both thought it was sad that we could get California strawberries cheaper in NY right now until we learned that a box didn't mean what we thought it meant - it meant SIX of what we thought it meant! Six dollars garnered us a half-flat of sweet, ripe berries the size of small apples, which we couldn't even finish in our short stay (though not for lack of trying). Above: Possibly my most delicious birthday cake ever.

16 June 2008

Giant Rhubarb Spotted in Southwestern Ontario

Sunny Defeats the Rhubarb!
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

Rhubarb slayed by 77-year-old woman wielding a sharp knife. Details at 11.

P.S. More verbosity coming soon, I promise. In the meantime, there are a whole bunch of new Flickr pics available for your viewing pleasure.

13 April 2008

Bread Alone

Back in December I often joked that I had a tapeworm (named Tapey) whose diet was bread and cheese. So every time I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich or picked up a slice for dinner, it was all in the name of being a good host. Then came HBJ and Tapey fell on hard times.

All attempts at hotbody were put on hold yesterday when I woke up before the crack of dawn to catch a train to Poughkeepsie, NY, then a short taxi ride to Hyde Park, home of the Culinary Institute of America. I've read numerous books about the CIA and going there has been my life backup plan for about 10 years. I will happily go $20,000 in debt to spend two years living on the campus and waking up at 5 a.m. to slave away in a kitchen (maybe I should have been born a century ago so that I could have lived as a prairie housewife!). The CIA offers a number of Saturday classes for "Enthusiasts," a category I fall into, well, enthusiastically. I've been drooling over the Artisan Bread class since I first noticed it about a year ago. Yesterday I took the class, which meant six hours baking as many different types of bread in a professional kitchen with Chef Jürgen Temme, who has been doing this "forever."

We baked sourdough, lean dough, ciabatta, focaccia, whole wheat and multi-grain loaves. I learned what a pre-ferment is, and how to make a biga and a poolish. I learned how to properly knead bread to develop the glutens, and also that if you've accurately measured your ingredients, you don't need extra flour when working with the dough. (Had Chef Temme not said this, my instinct would have incorrectly been to add more flour when I kneaded my dough.) When the chef escorted the class to lunch and said he'd stay back to bake off our loaves, I stayed behind to help him score the tops of the loaves (which, among other things, strengthens the crust's structure) and remove baked bread from the many ovens we were using. I'll be back to the CIA for a meal at some point, but who knows when I'll have an extra 45 minutes to apprentice with a professional bread baker?

Lunch, then, was my focaccia - fresh from the oven, still hot and loosely wrapped in foil for transportation back to Brooklyn, eaten in the sunshine while waiting outside the CIA for my taxi back to the train station. Dinner last night was a lean sourdough loaf with goat cheese from the farmer's market, and good red wine.

Both my belly and our freezer have been full of bread since I got home, and I'm already looking forward to replenishing both supplies. Tapey is happy, too.

11 March 2008

Bake This!

Or, a filler post because I'm mad booked this week.

Friday is Pi(e) Day! Get it? March 14? 3/14? 3.14? π? You with me here?

Celebrate! Bake a pie! Eat a pie! Here are a couple I made last year to celebrate (I think the banana cream will get a revival this year because it was soooo good):

Also, Easter is just around the corner, and it's never too early to start your Bunny Cake preparations. I took the time last year, sweet sweet readers, to post a full set of Bunny Cake instructions. Enjoy!

10 February 2008

Taking the Cake

Side 1
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

A few weeks ago, I brought cupcakes to a friend's birthday party. Another girl there liked the cupcakes enough to recommend that I do the baking for an upcoming Indian-themed birthday party, and this cake is the result. The decorations are inspired by mendhi designs. More pics on Flickr.

(Sorry for the crap photos - I'm going to buy my new camera this week!)

21 January 2008

Comfort Food

Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

On Friday I started a loaf of the Almost No-Knead Bread from February's Cook's Illustrated and baked it on Saturday afternoon This recipe adds beer and vinegar as well as a few kneads of the loaf. The crust and texture are both as wonderful as the original, and the flavour is deeper and more complex.

The recipe rightly suggests that the bread is best on the day it's baked, but toasted with Nutella a couple of days later it's still quite delicious.